Ellen Reiche Wiki – Ellen Reiche Biography

Ellen Reiche is a Bellingham, Washington, woman accused of terrorism for placing a “shunt” on train tracks in Whatcom County, an act that could cause a train to derail or decouple, endangering the public. Another woman is also accused in this incident. her name is Samantha Brook.

Reiche is a naturalist who has worked as a ski instructor.


She is 23 years old.

Ellen Reiche And Samantha Brook Arrested

They were arrested on the BNSF Railway tracks near Bellingham, Whatcom County, and were charged with a terrorist attack and other violence against a railroad carrier, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Both have already appeared in federal court.

“There were at least 10 different occasions where shunts were placed on the track near enough to a roadway to potentially cause crossing signal and crossing arm malfunctions, including failure to block traffic when a train was oncoming. On at least two occasions, individual shunts have interfered with multiple roadway/railway signals,” the complaint says, underscoring the dangerousness of the acts.

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Brooks is 27 years old, and Reiche is 23 years old. They were arrested on Saturday, November 28. You can read the full complaint here. The women’s full names are Ellen Brennan Reiche and Samantha Frances Brooks.

“A shunt disrupts the low-level electrical current on the tracks and can disable various safety features,” the DOJ press release says.


She has a bachelor’s degree in German from Western Washington University and graduated from Gig Harbor High School. She says she’s certified as an alpine level II ski instructor and in adult and pediatric first aid.

Reiche’s Career

According to her LinkedIn page, Ellen Reiche works as a mentor for Wild Whatcom, which engages children and their families in year-round nature programs.

She’s also worked as a naturalist for Outer Island Excursions in Anacortes Washington, as a ski instructor for Mt. Baker Ski Area in Bellingham, as a senior park aide for the State of Washington at Sucia Island State Park, as a dining hall worker with Aramark, as a quality control technician for Enfield Farms, as a transplanter for Cascade cuts Wholesale Nursery, and as a deputy field organizer for Washington State Democrats.

Police Report

On Saturday night, November 28, 2020, BNSF Police “observed video surveillance of two people kneeling on the tracks near a crossing in Bellingham. Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene,” the release says.

A shunt was found nearby. The defendants “had a paper bag containing wire, a drill with a brush head, and rubber gloves. The wire was similar to the wire used in the shunting incidents,” says the release. “The shunt that was placed on the tracks would have interfered with the railroad crossing guard at Cliffside Drive in Bellingham.”

The women now face up to 20 years in prison.

According to the complaint, when confronted, Reiche told authorities that she and Brooks “were walking along the tracks to look for her keys.”

When asked whether they had a flashlight or phone to help them look, “Reiche said she had left her phone in her car, and indicated that it was the car parked nearby with a ‘co-op’ sticker,” according to the complaint.

The car also had a sticker on the back hatch depicting a map of the United States overlaid with the text ‘Indigenous Land.’”

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